One year in SEO
By Marion Hirtzig - SEO Consultant.
I've been working at Orantec for a year now. I arrived as an intern on 1st November 2012, a newbie barely knowing what SEO was about, just that it seemed really interesting. And here I am, one year in the job, head of the SEO department, in charge of a dozen clients (and counting). I have learnt so much in one year that it seems like I arrived here ages ago.
12 months of a learning curve
Advantages of working for a small business
Working for a small company like Orantec has allowed me to do more than just plain SEO. Who can say they’ve created web pages almost from scratch (with creation of templates), helped with the launch of a website, played around with HTML and CSS, and launched a worldwide campaign in the flesh while working as an SEO consultant? It’s certainly part of the job and the job actually is easier if you do all of it, but people working for big companies with loads of web developers who can do pure development on their behalf can certainly stick to social media, blogging and meta descriptions (to sum up). I much prefer getting to do a bit of everything, but then I like to experience new things and I’m quite hands on, so that’s my thing!
The evolution of my responsibilities and tasks
When I was just an intern I spent most of my time doing blogs and social media. Sure I did hyperlinks, meta descriptions and such, if only to optimise the blogs. After 3 months I was hired full time with a real contract, and barely 3 months later my colleague left, leaving me in charge of everything. I had to get in touch with all our clients who barely knew I existed, get to know them and create relationships, while keeping up with the day-to-day SEO.
… to head of SEO and team manager
Life doesn’t stop when someone leaves a company so you can’t really tell your clients “ok, can you please tell me what you’ve done with my colleague because I wasn’t really in the loop”? You brace yourself, gather all the information you can from projects you’ve worked on and get on with it. And you get a management software like Basecamp so you can share everything with everyone. Still learning the job, I ended up taking the reins of everything while coaching 2 new additions to the team so they’d be ready and efficient. I’m always being careful now to share relevant information so when I go back home, one day (because I will go back to France, even if I don’t know when yet), I will know my colleague is secure in replacing me.
I’m now in charge of dealing daily with our clients, and at the end of the day I’ve done so many little things that I sometimes have the impression I haven’t done anything at all! I only have a little time for blogging and social media, which has become the main occupation of my colleague. Answering clients’ questions, doing edits on websites, managing PPC campaigns and creating reports seem to have taken over from blogging and social media. SEO is a strange yet astonishing, ever-changing job, as it takes so many forms. And I am still learning! If you’re working in SEO and manage to get bored, you’re definitely doing something wrong!
Unexpected consequences of working in SEO
Penguins, pandas and hummingbirds aren’t just animals anymore
There was a time for me when pandas were just those cute black and white bear-like animals. And hummingbirds were just birds. Penguins, well, I’ve had Linux on my personal laptop for ages so we can say I was already biased on that subject. Then I started working in SEO…
Now that I work in SEO, when I hear Penguin, Panda or Hummingbird, the first thing that comes to my mind is that they’re the names of Google’s latest algorithm updates. Search Engine Optimisation revolves around ranking well on search engines and Google is powerful enough to make SEO consultants quake in their boots if they’ve been naughty (i.e. if they’ve done black hat SEO). Google regularly (not to say constantly) update their search algorithms to make sure that relevant websites with a good online reputation come first. So in theory, if you’re just doing digital marketing with straight-forward, honest methods you’re pretty safe. These updates are a bad sign mostly for people who try to abuse the system.
SEO-ing my own blog
When I arrived in Cardiff I created a blog to stay in touch with my family, which makes it easier for me to give news without having to write individual e-mails. I also use it as a travel diary, with lots of pictures. And yes, they all have Alt tags! Although it’s just a personal blog and not specifically meant for public use, I find myself adding hyperlinks, headers and Alt tags in my articles…!
As a conclusion, I would say, what a year it’s been! From both a personal and professional point of view this year has been amazing, full of discoveries and new people. And from what I’ve learnt with SEO, it’s only just starting!